The biggest UK convention of the year returned to the ExCel in London at the end of May, and although it was once again heaving with people, there was something different about it this year. Whilst the event was back to its usual busyness both with volume of people and stalls, attendees were left feeling like there was still something missing.
After what was dubbed ‘Loki-con’ in October, with the convention not only full of Loki variants causing mischief, but also three of the main stars from the show too, the next MCM London had a lot to live up to. Sadly, this time around, it simply didn’t deliver. For the past few years, there has always been a big MCU at the event; stars such as Tom Hiddleston, Sebastian Stan, Paul Bettany and more. For the May 2022 event, not only was there no big-name MCU draw, but no major superhero stars at all.
There were some guests who were voice actors from anime shows and video games, as well as the likes of Robert Sheenan and Dan Fogler. There was also a huge focus on Genshin Impact, with a big area dedicated to the game that had various giveaways and events throughout the weekend. One benefit of not having any major stars at the convention meant the variety of panels was much better. All panels are included with a ticket to MCM, and there were plenty to choose from over the three days.
Artist Alley was also a major draw again, with some of the comic names such as Paul Cornell and Dave Cook featuring in panels, but again, ReedPop are still yet to bring back over any big-name international comic guests again like they did in 2018.
One thing that was back and hard to miss with the noise was the Fringe stage outside. Multiple bands over the three days entertained dancing cosplayers down by the trees with many TikTok opportunities that they made sure not to miss out on. The green and trees at the West entrance has barriers around the outside similar to the years before, so although passers by could hear what was going on and see all the spectacular cosplays, the stage and dancing was closed off to ticket holders.
Another stage that showcased talent again was the PopAsia stage. This section of the convention has always been popular with attendees, with performances and stalls all related to Asian culture, which tied in with the anime theme of the convention. Missing from the PopAsia section was a bigger array of food that used to be available. The katsu curry stand that people would spend a long tie queuing for was no more. As well as the missing food stalls, there were also big named companies not present.
Funko used to have a massive presence at MCM, but they are still yet to return. The big video games companies such as PlayStation and Nintendo also no longer have a presence at MCM. This is perhaps because ReedPop want to save those for EGX instead, whom they also own.
A big area that has been improved on is the retro and table top gaming area. Not only could you reminisce playing your favourite old school games, but there was also plenty of board games to relax with, as well as both introductory and more advanced sessions of Dungeons and Dragons with Imagination Gaming. Also returning were the light-sabre wielding team Silver Sabres, where you could try your hand at being a real-life Jedi, the cosplay competitions and the Quidditch area.
Even though there was a lot to enjoy, the lack of major names of both traders, games companies and guests left ticket holders feeling like they weren’t getting as much for their money’s worth as they used to. Tickets for the October Con were already on sale before the May event even happened, but with major areas of the convention missing and prices rising again, ReedPop will need to have to have some big surprises up their sleeves to persuade fans to shell out once more.
The excitement of a big convention happening and everyone seeing friends again meant the May event was popular, but with everything scaled down it no longer felt like a three-day celebration. Perhaps ReedPop are thinking of cancelling the May Con like they have with others, and putting all their focus on the October con, but fans will have to wait and see.
The writer of this piece was: Louise Saul (aka Tiny Tigress Cosplay)
Louise Tweets from @AikiSaul